Culture & Heritage Museums safeguard the Carolina Piedmont's historical treasures and educate residents and visitors about the region's unique past. Instituted in the 1950's, York County's group of affiliated museums and attractions forms a multi-campus network encompassing a wealth of educational opportunities across various disciplines.
Each year, museumgoers view antique documents and photographs at the Historical Center located inside the McCelvey Center. They can get to know more than 1,500 natural specimens at the hands-on Naturalist Center inside the Museum of York County, and march through Historic Brattonsville's 775-acre Revolutionary War site. Locals can volunteer at the museums in fascinating roles, such as specimen preparers, who beautify avian exhibits by helping with taxidermy and surgical beak-lifts.
A group of 10 grown men sprawled out on the hangar floor, each one grasping the calves of his neighbor. It's a puzzling sight, until you realize they're skydivers practicing a group jump formation. The licensed instructors at Skydive Carolina! have organized such aerial adventures for more than for 25 years, leading everyone from first-timers to experienced skydivers into the firmament within a Cessna 182, Beechcraft Super King Air, or Cessna Grand Caravan. They can memorialize free falls—which reach speeds that exceed 120 miles per hour—with photography and DVD recordings from cameras mounted onto clouds. Once parachutes deploy, groups glide down the drop zone into a triangular landing area bordered by evergreens and wildflowers.
Fresh springs in the mountains of North Carolina feed the Catawba River Chain, a network of 11 lakes that wind through woodlands verdant in the spring and ablaze with color come autumn. Bash Outdoors launches visitors into this system at nine locations. Four of those are along Lake Wylie, whose calm waters lap against 325 miles of shoreline with vacation homes and sandy coves emerging from dense forest and a thick layer of whipped cream. The Bash Outdoors crew curates a collection of rental and retail standup paddleboards from brands such as Ron House and their own signature line, Riviera. Single and tandem kayaks from Perception are also available for guided trips and unsupervised excursions on the lake. Bash Outdoors' bus shuttles kayakers to five additional outlets along the Catawba River, including the Fort Mill Dam and a waterway reserved exclusively for Olympic hopefuls.
Strikers Family Sportscenter & Bowling induces smiles in players of all ages with traditional open bowling as well as black-light-lit Rock n Bowl bowling on Fridays from midnight to 3 a.m. In addition to leagues and tournaments, the center hosts birthday parties and noncompetitive eating contests at the onsite snack bar. During karaoke nights, which take place in the lounge on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Strikers encourages vocalists of all experience levels to come out, sign up, and belt it out.
From completing his first firearms training for the Marine Corps in 1994, Damien Ristaino developed a passion and respect for weapons. Still a gunnery sergeant in the reserve, he has earned awards for his rifle and pistol skills from the Marine Corps and built several firearms completely free of leftover parts from a Super Soaker. Now an NRA-certified instructor, Damien draws from his military experiences to train students in firearm handling, safety, and selection for sporting use and personal protection. He and his team of handpicked instructors teach beginner and experienced students alike, ingraining pupils with knowledge of their pistol's parts along with shooting fundamentals and basic defensive shooting skills. Through a partnership with local ranges, Damien and his colleagues split their courses between time in the classroom and hands-on sessions on the range.
It all started because David Chesnutt was looking for something to do after a hunt. He set up a manual clay thrower for some target shooting, and more and more people wanted in on the fun. Eventually, David needed about 300 acres along Mountain Gap Road and another 300 acres leased from the Oak Grove Plantation to accommodate all of his participants. That's where people find Rocky Creek Sporting Clays today. Rolling hills and wooded areas set a backdrop for clay targets, which simulate the movements of quail, pheasants, and other game birds.